Coupling Remote Sensing and Coral Annual Band Data to Investigate the History of Catchment Land Use and Coral Reef Status

Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 5)


Using a combination of remote sensing (aerial photographic) and geochemical (coral annual band) data, we detected significant increases in sediment and nutrient discharge in response to land development during the past 50 years on Ishigaki Island, Southwest Japan. Correlates of coral reef decline were also detected using remote sensing (aerial photographic) data. Given that historical aerial photographs are available for many areas from as early as the 1900s and that long-lived corals can record paleoenvironmental conditions for more than 100 years, our approach could be applied to reconstructing changes in other coral reef regions worldwide since the early twentieth century or before.


Coral reef Land-based pollution Remote sensing Coral annual band 



This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Coral reef science for symbiosis and coexistence of humans and ecosystems under combined stresses” (No. 20121004) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. We thank collaborators in team B01 “Historic changes of coral reefs and their stressors,” who have published informative and insightful results. We also thank the residents of Shiraho village and WWF Japan for providing this research opportunity.


  1. Adachi H, Abe O (2003) “Air drill” for submerged coral drilling. Mar Technol Soc J 37:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartley R, Bainbridge ZT, Lewis SE, Kroon FJ, Wilkinson SN, Brodie JE, Silburn DM (2014) Relating sediment impacts on coral reefs to watershed sources, processes and management: a review. Sci Total Environ 468–469:1138–1153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanco AC, Nadaoka K, Yamamoto T (2008) Planktonic and benthic microalgal community composition as indicators of terrestrial influence on a fringing reef in Ishigaki Island, Southwest Japan. Mar Environ Res 66:520–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanco AC, Nadaoka K, Yamamoto T, Kinjo K (2010) Dynamic evolution of nutrient discharge under stormflow and baseflow conditions in a coastal agricultural catchment in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan. Hydrol Process 24:2601–2616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blanco AC, Watanabe A, Nadaoka K, Motooka S, Herrera EC, Yamamoto T (2011) Estimation of nearshore groundwater discharge and its potential effects on a fringing coral reef. Mar Pollut Bull 62:770–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brodie JE, Kroon FJ, Schaffelke B, Wolanski EC, Lewis SE, Devlin MJ, Bohnet IC, Brainbridge ZT, Waterhouse J, Davis AM (2012) Terrestrial pollutant runoff to the Great Barrier Reef: an update of issues, priorities and management responses. Mar Pollut Bull 65:81–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burke L, Reytar K, Spalding M, Perry A (2011) Reefs at risk revisited. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Cochran SA (2013) Photography applications. In: Goodman JA, Purkis SJ, Phinn S (eds) Coral reef remote sensing. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 29–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delvin M, Schaffelke B (2012) Catchment-to-reef continuum: case studies from the Great Barrier Reef. A special issue – Marine Pollution Bulletin 2012. Mar Pollut Bull 65:77–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fabricius KE (2005) Effect of terrestrial runoff on the ecology of corals and coral reefs: review and synthesis. Mar Pollut Bull 50:125–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gagan MK, Ayliffe LK, Beck JW, Cole JE, Druffel ERM, Dunbar RB, Schrag DP (2000) New views of tropical paleoclimate from corals. Quat Sci Rev 19:45–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harii S, Hongo C, Ishihara M, Ide Y, Kayanne H (2014) Impacts of multiple disturbances on coral communities at Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan, during a 15 year survey. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 509:171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hasegawa H (2011) The decline of coral reef conditions caused by the extensive land modification: a case study of the Shiraho area on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, Japan. J Remote Sens Soc Jpn 31:73–86Google Scholar
  14. Hasegawa H, Yamano H (2004) Ishigaki Island. In: Ministry of the Environment and Japanese Coral Reef Society (ed) Coral reefs of Japan. Ministry of the Environment, Tokyo, pp 212–218Google Scholar
  15. Hongo C, Yamano H (2013) Species-specific responses of corals to bleaching events on anthropogenically turbid reefs on Okinawa Island, Japan, over a 15-year period (1995–2009). PLoS ONE 8:e60952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Inoue M, Ishikawa D, Miyaji T, Yamazaki A, Suzuki A, Yamano H, Kawahata H, Watanabe T (2014) Evaluation of Mn and Fe in coral skeletons (Porites spp.) as proxies for sediment loading and reconstruction of 50 yrs of land use on Ishigaki Island, Japan. Coral Reefs 33:363–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Iryu Y, Nakamori T, Matsuda S, Abe O (1995) Distribution of marine benthic organisms and its geological significance in the modern reef complex of the Ryukyu Islands. Sediment Geol 99:243–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ishihara M, Hasegawa H, Hayashi S, Yamano H (2014) Land cover classification using multi-temporal satellite images in a subtropical area. In: Nakano S, Yahara T, Nakashizuka T (eds) The biodiversity observation network in the Asia-Pacific region: integrative observations and assessments of Asian biodiversity. Springer, Tokyo, pp 231–237Google Scholar
  19. Kayanne H, Harii S, Ide Y, Akimoto F (2002) Recovery of coral reef populations after the 1998 bleaching on Shiraho Reef in the southern Ryukyus, NW Pacific. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 239:93–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewis SE, Shields GA, Kamber BS, Lough JM (2007) A multi-trace element coral record of land-use changes in the Burdekin River catchment, NE Australia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 246:471–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Marion GS, Dunbar RB, Mucciarone DA, Kremer JN, Lansing JS, Arthawiguna A (2005) Coral skeletal δ15N reveals isotopic traces of an agricultural revolution. Mar Pollut Bull 50:931–944CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCulloch M, Fallon S, Wyndham T, Hendy E, Lough J, Barnes D (2003) Coral record of increased sediment flux to the inner Great Barrier Reef since European settlement. Nature 421:727–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Min GR, Edwards RL, Taylor FW, Récy J, Gallup CD, Beck JW (1995) Annual cycles of U/Ca in coral skeletons and U/Ca thermometry. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 59:2025–2042CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mishima M, Suzuki A, Magao M, Ishimura T, Inoue M, Kawahara H (2010) Abrupt shift toward cooler condition in the earliest 20th century detected in a 165 year coral record from Ishigaki Island, southwestern Japan. Geophys Res Lett 37:L15609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nadaoka K, Nihei Y, Kumano R, Yokobori T, Omija T, Wakaki K (2001) A field observation on hydrodynamic and thermal environments of a fringing reef at Ishigaki Island under typhoon and normal atmospheric conditions. Coral Reefs 20:387–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nakamori T, Suzuki A, Iryu Y (1992) Water circulation and carbon flux on Shiraho coral reef of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Cont Shelf Res 12–7(8):951–970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nakasone K, Higa E, Omija T, Yasumura S, Nadaoka K (2001) Measurements of suspended solids in Todoroki River, Ishigaki Island. Ann Rep Okinawa Prefectural Inst Health Environ 35:93–102Google Scholar
  28. Omija T (2004) Terrestrial inflow of soils and nutrients. In: Ministry of the Environment and Japanese Coral Reef Society (ed) Coral reefs of Japan. Ministry of the Environment, Tokyo, pp 64–68Google Scholar
  29. Paringit EC, Nadaoka K (2003) Sediment yield modelling for small agricultural catchments: land-cover parameterization based on remote sensing data analysis. Hydrol Process 17:1845–1866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pelejero C, Calvo E, McCulloch MT, Marshall JF, Gagan MK, Lough JM, Opdyke BN (2005) Preindustrial to modern interdecadal variability in coral reef pH. Science 309:2204–2207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ramos-Scharrón CE, Trres-Pulliza D, Hernández-Delgado EA (2015) Catchment- and island wide-scale land cover changes in Puerto Rico (1930s–2004) and their potential effects on coral reef ecosystems. Sci Total Environ 506–507:241–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shinjo R, Asami R, Huang K-F, You C-F, Iryu Y (2013) Ocean acidification trend in the tropical North Pacific since the mid-20th century reconstructed from a coral archive. Mar Geol 342:58–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sowa K, Watanabe T, Kan H, Yamano H (2014) Influence of land development on the calcification of Holocene Porites coral at Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan. PLoS One 9:e88790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tamura H, Nadaoka K, Paringit EC (2007) Hydrodynamic characteristics of a fringing coral reef on the east coast of Ishigaki Island, southwest Japan. Coral Reefs 26:17–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thorburn P (2013) Catchments to reef continuum: minimising impacts of agriculture on the Great Barrier Reef. Agric Ecosyst Environ 180:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsunoda T, Kawahata H, Suzuki A, Minoshima K, Shikazono N (2008) East Asian monsoon to El Niño/Southern Oscillation: a shift in the winter climate of Ishigaki Island accompanying the 1988/1989 regime shift, based on instrumental and coral records. Geophys Res Lett 35:L13708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. West K, van Voesik R (2001) Spatial and temporal variance of river discharge on Okinawa (Japan): inferring the temporal impact on adjacent coral reefs. Mar Pollut Bull 42:864–872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yamano H (2013) Multispectral applications. In: Goodman JA, Purkis SJ, Phinn SR (eds) Coral reef remote sensing. Springer, Dordreht, pp 51–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yamano H, Kayanne H, Yonekura N, Nakamura H, Kudo K (1998) Water circulation in a fringing reef located in a monsoon area: Kabira Reef, Ishigaki Island, Southwest Japan. Coral Reefs 17:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yamano H, Hata H, Miyajima T, Nozaki K, Kato K, Negishi A, Tamura M, Kayanne H (2014) Water circulation in a fringing reef and implications for coral distribution and resilience. In: Nakano S, Yahara T, Nakashizuka T (eds) The biodiversity observation network in the Asia-Pacific region: integrative observations and assessments of Asian biodiversity. Springer, Tokyo, pp 275–293Google Scholar
  41. Yamazaki A, Watanabe T, Tsunogai U (2011) Nitrogen isotopes of organic nitrogen in reef coral skeletons as a proxy of tropical nutrient dynamics. Geophys Res Lett 38:L19605Google Scholar
  42. Yamazaki A, Watanabe T, Tsunogai U, Hasegawa H, Yamano H (2014) The coral δ15N record of terrestrial nitrate loading varies with river catchment land use. Coral Reefs 34:353–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Natural History Sciences, Faculty of ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

Personalised recommendations